The Manchester United veteran, Gary Neville was in for an unpleasant surprise as he took up the role of a host on BBC’s popular show “Have I Got News For You”.
A little context for you – Gary Neville was recently hired by the Qatari media company beIN SPORTS as a football expert and commentator for the 2022 FIFA World Cup being hosted by Qatar.
The 47-year-old has also been extremely vocal about the social injustices prevailing in his home country for a while now.
Now, the Middle-Eastern nation has been in the limelight for years for its oppressive policies with respect to women, LGBTQIA rights, as well as basic human rights.
Ian Hislop took a dig at Neville by pointing out “the elephant in the room.”
Hislop, on the show, begins interrogating Neville on his participation as a commentator in the World Cup and whether he has a defence given his stance on human rights, in light of the disregard for such rights in Qatar.
Neville responded to the pointed question by saying, “My view always has been that you either highlight the issues and challenges in these countries and speak about them, or you basically don’t say anything and stay back home and don’t go. And I think we should challenge them.”
He also says that he’d never shy away from highlighting such injustices during his role as commentator.
At first, Hislop says that Neville could simply choose to stay at home and highlight the issues that he speaks of. The very fact that he chooses to take money from the Qataris shows hypocrisy!
When Neville says that he could attempt to highlight the issues during the course of his commentary, Hislop quips as to how exactly Neville intends to do that.
While answering his own question, Hislop gives a piece of sarcastic commentary, simply to mock Neville.
He says, “And it kicks off here in this horrendous country with his human rights record, and frankly I think… Oh, someone kicks a ball.” He carries that sarcasm forward by commentating, “But honestly, the number of migrant workers who have died, it’s a shock… ‘Oh, it’s a goal!”
This is not the first time the ex-Manchester United defender has been criticized for accepting the role of a commentator at the Qatar World Cup.
However, he has lashed out at his critics by saying that one of the best ways to highlight the social issues in such countries is to collaborate with such countries and use football as a medium of change.
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